The Lansing State Journal reports that Michigan and Great Lakes US Reps on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment were more than a bit testy at a hearing to examine the problems posed by the zebra mussel, the sea lamprey and other invader species.
Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township: “Here you have these international boats dumping these critters all over the place and you can’t do anything.”
Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Grand Rapids “It’s an ecological and environmental disaster.”
Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn: “We’re at an end of patience with studies. There are things we need to do now.”
According to Benjamin Grumbles (you can’t make this stuff up), the assistant administrator for water at the Environmental Protection Agency, there are already 180 nonnative species are in the Great Lakes with a new invader entering every eight months. The zebra mussel alone is estimated to do up to $200 million a year in economic damage.
Also yesterday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced Great Lakes cleanup legislation in the House and Senate. The $20 billion plan aims to improve water quality, restore fish and wildlife around the lakes and guard against invasive species. “It’s time for Congress to invest in restoring the Great Lakes so that Michigan’s economy, environmental health and quality of life aren’t diminished,” said Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton. Last year’s legislation was voted down by the Republican-controlled Congress. I’m not going to go and look to see how the Representatives quoted, voted.